Sustainable fashion at Larmer Tree festival

17 July 2018

The fashion industry isn’t well known for being green. Just last year, Stella McCartney condemned it as “incredibly wasteful and harmful to the environment”. So it’s good to know that there are businesses out there producing original clothes that don’t cost the earth. We spoke to Rosie from t-shirt printing business, Giant Triplets, as they prepare to take their sustainable fashion to Larmer Tree festival.  

What do you do to be a sustainable business?

We wanted to rework event merchandise to have a positive social and environmental impact and we try to do this in two ways - reducing textile waste and using a ‘Pay It Forward’ scheme.

The water footprint of the fashion and textile industry is astonishingly high. It takes 2720 Litres of water to make a single t-shirt, which is as much as you would drink in three years. By asking people to bring in second hand items, we ensure there’s no excess surplus left over after an event and therefore no waste.

We then use some of the revenue generated and ‘pay it forward’ towards a workshop for an organisation or group that may not have the means to do so themselves. We believe that it is our collective responsibility to empower people through creativity and co-production. This involvement provides people with the chance to develop skills and creates a neutral ‘third space’, reinforcing community cohesion. We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to experience and shape our cultural landscape.

What do you love about screen printing?

Screen printing is so much fun! It’s cathartic to be so physically involved in the process of making something and our DIY approach lends a unique human quality to anything we produce. Plus, as well as being a beautiful and tactile form of graphic communication, printmaking has also historically been a very accessible and democratic way for people to reproduce and spread a message to a large audience. In this way, we see printing as a vehicle for getting across a wider message about sustainability and consumption.

What will you be doing at Larmer Tree?

We’re very happy to be printing an exclusive Ecotricity/Larmer Tree design onto pre-loved items for anyone who wants to get involved. You can also book yourself onto our workshop where we’ll be teaching DIY printmaking techniques and upcycling old textiles.

How can people get involved?

Anyone in attendance at Larmer Tree festival can get involved by bringing their old textiles to be printed in front of them. We’ve given a second life to a wide range of pre-loved items from t-shirts to flags to underpants. We use water-based dyes so natural fibres work best –  steer clear of plastic or leather. We’ll print your items in front of you and all you have to do is take your new sustainable merch out on its next adventure.

What’s your favourite design that you’ve created, and why?

We hosted a workshop in a recently demolished art gallery in Waterloo, as we wanted to look at the displacement of communities in London. The gallery and neighbouring shops had been knocked down to make way for a new luxury development. The design incorporated photography by Alex Kurunis and a collaboration between poet James Messiah and artist Ellie Pennick.

What are you looking forward to at Larmer Tree?

We’re looking forward to seeing a peacock or two, and possibly even having a spa session after our last print on Sunday evening. As seasoned festival goers, we also look forward to seeing if the festival lives up to their ‘best toilets’ title.

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